A History of Excellence – The Honda Civic
Today, the Honda Civic is a ubiquitous vehicle on the roads of Ontario and throughout Canada. It’s hard to remember a time when the Civic didn’t grace our roads. Our dealership decided to take a look back at the history of the Honda Civic, along with its high-performance variants such as the Civic Si and legendary Civic Type R. Take a look back with us and learn how one of the most popular compact cars came to fruition!
Honda, and Japanese cars in general, may now be thought of as affordable, reliable transportation, but back in 1972 many North Americans were unconvinced that these Japanese imports could match their domestic counterparts. That quickly changed when the all-new Honda Civic was introduced that year and quickly proved itself during the 1972 oil crisis.
With gas prices at an all-time high, consumers were searching for a more cost-effective means of transportation and the Civic delivered. Its 1.2L engine had a microscopic thirst for fuel, and it offered high-end features like power disc brakes, vinyl bucket seats, and even air conditioning (oh, how times have changed!). Buyers were immediately enamoured with this reliable hatchback, and sales skyrocketed.
The Civic continued to grow and evolve until 1983 when the high-performance Si (Sport injected) trim was first introduced. With the death of the muscle car, thanks to emissions and fuel prices, drivers searched for a fuel-efficient yet fun-to-drive vehicle—and the Civic Si delivered. Its 91 horsepower was more than sufficient for the time while its low cost, reliability, and fuel efficiency made for a winning combination.
Now in its fourth generation, the 1987 Civic was manufactured right here in Canada at the Alliston, Ontario plant. The first 800 Honda’s from this plant were Honda Civic SE models, and were available only in white. Demand for the Civic Si continued, with power rising to 108 horsepower, and handling improving thanks to double-wishbone suspension on all four corners. In spite of continued performance improvement, consumers craved for more. In 1997, the first Civic Type R was unleashed with a 182 horsepower engine, limited-slip differential, bevy of weight-saving measures, and signature red interior. While Canada never got this Type R, we did get its close cousin, the Integra Type R which used most of the Civic’s mechanical components. Throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s the Civic continued to grow in popularity thanks to its combination of value, fuel-efficiency, safety, and reliability. Even after two decades of daily service, it’s not uncommon to see these Civics still on the road today!